Creating The Mistress of Mystery

"The Mistress of Mystery" 

Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like you to meet Marisa! (Unless you already know her, in which case ... here she is again!) She is one of my many amazing photography friends. (Humble brag?) Marisa is so talented and just a wonderful person to know and be around. You can see her being super fun and awesome in a gif in this post. I've shot with her many a time before, but by "with" I mean "near/next to." I realized during the meet up I hosted in Watkins Glen that I'd never actually shot an image of Marisa. That just wouldn't do. It was nearing sunset on the first full day of the meet up and a small group of us wandered over to this location and Marisa just so happened to have this dress on hand, so I had her throw it on and we did some shooting!

This was one of the many shoots I've done with basically no plan.  Like I always do when I don't have any sort of idea what my end product will look like, I just had Marisa pose a bunch of different ways. It was one of my, "Eh, I'll figure it out in Photoshop," kinda shoots. Oddly enough the image I ended up using was actually one of the afterthought expansion images. I tilted the camera up to shoot the top of my frame, only catching a bit of her at the bottom. Apparently she still hadn't stopped modeling yet, because it was my favorite shot. Luckily I was able to use one of the other expansion images that I took below her to composite together her top half with her bottom half. 

I wound up tapping into Robert Cornelius's classic Photoshop move to make an image more interesting ... adding birds. Are you guys sick of this yet? I feel like it's such popular thing to do, but I always enjoy doing it. If something is popular it's probably popular for a reason, right? I realized around the time I was adding the second bird that this is basically a follow up image to this one.

I just really liked the way these cardinals mimicked the color of her dress while adding some interest and motion. Plus the cardinal is the state bird of Ohio - there are seriously A LOT of them there. "Robert ... why the heck does this matter?" Well friends, as you might know I grew up in Ohio. I spent many an hour off in the woods exploring the fantasy worlds of my mind, and cardinals always remind me of those times. So even if just for myself, I feel like they added a special sense of youthful imagination and wonder to this otherwise fairly simple image. 

It's funny how everyone I've shown this image to thus far has said something along the lines of, "Oh cool, you Photoshopped a tiny little woman." I guess people think that these swamp plant things (cattails? ... Let's call them cattails) are actually "normal grass sized" and she is composited in there as a super small human? That's fine by me; it's all in the eye of the beholder. However, this is in fact exactly how tall they actually are. Pretty cool, right!?

It's kinda hard to tell, but there is a skinny path through the cattails in front of her. I wish I had shot her a little further into them so it was more obvious; hind sight is 20/20. We were actually right in the middle of the cattails. If you turned around from where I was shooting, it looked about the same as it does in this direction. One of these days I want to shoot there again with a solid plan; as you can see it's a pretty saweet location.

So I have to be honest, sometimes blogging is super hard you guys. I finished this picture and had no idea what the heck to write about it. (Hence why this post is less "teach-y tip-y" and more, "Here are some random thoughts.") I've been running into this a lot lately - I feel like I've talked about my process so much that I'm starting to feel "tapped out" as far as things to write about. Which is silly, because there are infinite things to do with Photography/Photoshop. My issue is that I tend to use the same handful of techniques over and over on most images and I've talked about most of my go to moves. I guess it's time to start branching out and challenging myself to try new things!

Are there any specific (... or totally vague) topics/tricks/techniques/whatever that you'd like me to consider babbling about in the future?

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